With President Teresa Hoffman at the helm, the Lowell Women’s Club is ready to launch into its 90th year. The group held its first meeting of the 2017-2018 year last week at a new location. While the setting was different, the fellowship and service that marks the organization remains the same.
Outgrowing Old Spaces
For years, the Lowell Women’s Club has met in the community room at Schneider Manor. However, with 62 members, that space was already close to capacity. This year, membership expanded to 68 regular members and nine junior members. While not all members attend every meeting, it became apparent the group would need a new space to comfortably fit everyone who does attend.
That space was found at the First Congregational Church on Lincoln Lake Ave, just north of the city limits. There, the crowd has plenty of room to spread out in the gathering space. At the September business meeting, not only was there room for tables, but several racks of jackets from the Flat River Outreach Mission boutique were set up for members to browse.
As another bonus, the luncheon team was able to work in a full-size kitchen to set up their salad bar and prepare cups of apple crisp dessert. When it was time to listen to the monthly speaker, the group was able to easily move to the church’s sanctuary for a video presentation.
Full Year Planned for Club
The Lowell Women’s Club treats each month’s meeting as an opportunity to connect with others in the community as well as learn something new. For the former, they raffle off pies, share a meal and “toot their own horn” – a tradition in which women share their non-political news or announcements in exchange for a $1 donation. For the latter, the club invites a different speaker each month to share about their particular organization or passion.
During the September meeting, Shannon Hanley spoke on behalf of Lowell’s Open Table. She shared its history, mission and accomplishments. “We are trying to give people their time back,” she said. “We envision Open Table as a place where people can come and have a meal with friends they have not yet met.” She also shared about the upcoming Harvest Gathering fundraiser planned for the end of September.
Future speakers include representatives of CASA, Ability Weavers and The Barn for Equine Learning. Lowell’s First Look has been asked to speak at the January meeting.
Beyond their monthly meetings, the Lowell Women’s Club has a wide array of activities planned for the year. They had a booth at the recent Fallasburg Arts Festival and will soon be planning for their Christmas Through Lowell luncheon. The group will also be running donation drives for Alpha Family Center, FROM and Lowell Schools. They will volunteer at Kids’ Food Basket, deliver cookies to the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans and man a booth at the Community EXPO in the spring.
When their year wraps up in May, the group will end with a special celebration to name a woman of the year, hand out scholarships and enjoy a special visitor from Lowell’s past. In 2016-2017, the group racked up a combined 7,942 volunteer hours, raised $3,200 for community organizations and awarded $10,700 in scholarships to junior members.
The Lowell Women’s Club meets the second Wednesday of each month from September through May. Meetings are held at the First Congregational Church of Lowell and begin at 11:45am. Women interested in joining are welcome to show up at any meeting and attend as a guest.